Rivers State governor and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and his Accord Party counterpart, Dumo Lulu-Briggs yesterday boycotted the governorship debate organised by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News Pidgin.
The duo were among the six governorship candidates selected electronically to participate in the much-publicised debate, which was aired live in three national television stations.
Those present at the occasion were the governorship candidates of the Labour Party (LP), Isaac Wonwu; African Democratic Party (ADP), Victor Fingesi; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Precious Elekima and African Democratic Congress (ADC), Ineye Braide
However, supporters of Lulu-Briggs and the Accord Party were in their numbers at The Hub Event Centre, Peter Odili Road, Port Harcourt, venue of the governorship debate.
Speaking at the debate, SDP governorship candidate, Elekima, vowed to continue the monorail project started by the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, but with a new link to Isaka community in Okrika local government area of the state.
He promised to create employment for the teeming unemployed through the setting up of no fewer than 92 industries within four years, saying: “I want peace for every Rivers man because if we don’t have peace, it will worry us.”
“We will stop stealing of government funds and create employment through industrialisation. I will create jobs opportunities in 6 months and 92 industries in four years. By next fours years, we won’t be able to sell our oil again. We need to diversify.”
On his part, the ADP governorship candidate, Fingesi, said if elected his administration will provide funds for the setting up of modular refineries in order to discourage illegal oil bunkering.
The ADP governorship hopeful berated past administrations in the state for failing to eradicate hunger and poverty despite several promises, saying that if elected, his administration will curb insecurity so that foreigners who fled Port Harcourt could come back.
He said: “Rivers people are tired of hunger and poverty. The government that has been in power since 1999 has promised to eradicate poverty but failed. We will curb insecurity so that foreigners that left could come back and establish industries to create jobs for our people.
“I am a security expert and I will meet every stakeholder in security so that we can turn the table around and start securing our state. When we have peace, investors will come.”
In his speech during the debate, ADC governorship candidate, Braide, said the state needs peace and reconciliation in order to move forward, pointing out that he has been in touch with former militant leaders in the state in his effort to ensure peace in the state.
He said: “Rivers State is not moving forward. It is all of us and not only the government. With good roads and infrastructure without industries, we won’t progress.”
“There is insecurity, cultism and gangsterism because we allowed those who should not be in government to be. Peace and reconciliation will move us forward and that is what my party, the ADC stands for. I am the only person that talk to the militants.”
On his part, the LP governorship candidate, Wonwu, vowed to restore scholarship scheme for students in the state and reintroduce mechanised agriculture in order to help the rural farmers.
He said: “The past governments tried but if voted in, I will surpass the achievement of past governments. I will create wealth for our people and restore scholarship scheme.
“I will reintroduce mechanised agriculture and create jobs for our people. Labour Party is the party for everybody and we will protect everybody. It is the party for all workers and all Nigerians. I am an industrialist.”